Growing up, my parents had good friends that us kids referred to as aunt and uncle so and so. My friends called my parents mom and dad. I didn't think twice about it when my kids started calling my new inlaws grandma and grandpa. So why am I all freaked out now that my kids are calling their soon to be stepmom mom?
Well, number one, and probably the only real reason: because I am their MOM. I gave birth to them and up until this point, I have been their only mother figure. I have never called my step parents by anything other than their first name. I have never called my inlaws mom and dad. I never called my friend's parents mom and dad. In my mind, only two people get to be called mom and dad- the two that made the child. (Unless, of course one chooses to be an absent parent in which case, they're giving up that right.) Aunt, Uncle, Grandma, Grandpa- those are all names by default. No disrespect meant to ANYONE. It's just that those people didn't choose to be aunt, uncle, grandma, or grandpa. They are because two people, MOM and DAD made the CHOICE to have a kid together.
I posed the question on Facebook: "If both parents are involved, is it ok for kids to call the step parents mom and dad?" A couple of people said no but overwhelmingly, the answer was more along the lines of yes, if that's what the kids want. From the beginning, my husband and I have told the boys that he is not their dad and isn't trying to take the place of their dad. He loves them and cares about them but their dad is still their dad. And, as a result, they've always called him by his first name. Not out of disrespect toward him but out of respect for their dad. Now, of course, I'm wondering if that was the right thing to do. Not because I want tit for tat but because this whole thing has really got me thinking.
Is it really that important that my kids don't call anyone else mom? What exactly does it mean if they do call someone else mom? Of course I FEEL like it means that they love her as much as they love me and that they're one step closer to preferring her over me. But really, is that the case? I'd like to say NO! But I haven't quite convinced myself of that yet ;) However, a couple of the comments I got on Facebook were quite helpful in easing my mind. One friend said: "Life's too short to worry about what's socially acceptable. You're doing great, your kids are amazing and these things really shouldn't matter over the heart issues of a child." And another said: "Getting close to someone else doesn't mean getting further away from you. I know words can hurt but the grown ups are better equipped to deal with that."
So is that what it comes down to? It's not about me or how I feel, it's just a name and if the kids want to call her mom, I shouldn't be bothered by it? Oh my... I'm working on that. I really am. But it's SO hard to do. So, I just keep telling myself my kids love me, I am a good person and a good mom. My kids can call her whatever they want, that doesn't change anything between US. I am not going to lose my kids to another "mom".
Someday, maybe, I'll believe it.